OpenOffice vs NeoOffice (on free OS X apps)

In a previous post about my move to OS X, I mentioned that I’d managed to avoid the need to buy any software. The exceptions being Lightroom and ecto.

It has been about a month since I got my MacBook Pro, and today was the first time that I’d had to open a Microsoft Word document. No problem, since I’d already installed the latest version of OpenOffice. That was a bit weird, as I’d had to install X11 from the OS X CDs (ooo, an OS where they still give you the install CDs, that’s a bit novel!). Actually I also needed X11 for The Gimp, so it wasn’t too much of an imposition.

On loading the Word document, I was presented with the following output:

I bet you are thinking, “what lovely fonts!”. So was I.

After a little searching, I came across a suggestion that I could replace the freetype library on my system with a hacked one. I tried that, and X11 wouldn’t launch any more, so I hurriedly backed the change out again!

Then I remembered NeoOffice, the “native” version of OpenOffice. I hadn’t installed it when I’d done my first pass of essential apps, since it appeared to be a version behind the official OpenOffice releases, and I didn’t really appreciate the benefits of having a version of the office suite that used all of the native OS X dialogs and menus. I installed it, and this is how it rendered the same document:

That’s more like it. It also looks far more like an OS X app.

So, good-bye OpenOffice, I think I’ll be using NeoOffice from now on. It is currently a release behind (2.0 as opposed to 2.1) but at the moment it appears to do everything that I want it to – I’ll reconsider if I hit any brick walls in the future.

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2 thoughts on “OpenOffice vs NeoOffice (on free OS X apps)”

  1. That’s really good, Andy! I have not heard of Neo-Office before as I get software from work. I have recommended Neo-Office to my students.

  2. Thanks missy… I just hope it works out OK, since I’ve not given it a thorough workout yet! I’ll be posting some more about Mac software as time goes on.

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